Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Cape Crusader

Oh what a wonderful autumnal day...  Cold enough to warrant me wearing my new cape, dry enough to ensure that the 100% wool content isn't tainted by any raindrops.  If you haven't considered this item for your autumnal wardrobe then get to the shops now and enjoy being a trendsetter.
The main things to consider when trying capes:
  • is the colour in my colour palette?
  • does the length ensure that the cape sits on my knees or above?  * This IS a fashion garment, not to be mistaken with the rain coats worn by coach drivers in BBC Victorian dramas.
  • is there ANY tailoring? Capes have the potential to make us look wide but pockets, collars and tailoring will allow "the cape to drape", not drown....

Monday, 6 September 2010

Can clothes move mountains?

I climbed Ben Nevis this weekend. I'll just repeat that because I can!
I climbed Ben Nevis this weekend and it feels sooo good to be at this end of a trip that has been on my height-terrified mind since a friend suggested that a group of us attempt Ben Nevis in 2010.

The strange thing is that the feel good factor isn't based on the achievement of climbing Scotland's highest mountain. It's based on the friendships that were begun, developed and cemented throughout the whole weekend with people of different ages and genders.  Were the clothes that I was wearing fundamental to the friendships I enjoyed over the weekend?  Clearly not - see pic on right  for proof.  But a sense of self and confidence in who I am was vital and that has been an ongoing project over the past few years that started with a style consultation.  So be careful of your self discovery journey, you might end up at the top of a very high mountain...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Thousandth Man

Aren't these jackets amazing?  Not being an artistic person I'm often in awe of those who are and was fortunate to meet fashion designer Grace Maran recently who created the garments featured above.  Grace has travelled far and lived in exotic parts of the world before settling in Edinburgh to create her own fashion label.  Her latest collection was inspired by Antartic explorers and features details such as embroidered maps within pocket fabric.  These are jackets that I would be very proud of wearing on my Ben Nevis trip in September - oh to look that stylish at the summit!

Check out other pieces from Grace's collection at her blog http://thethousandthman.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Twenty years - younger or older?

I don't believe in bringing people down, it serves no purpose and reflects more on the person who's doing the criticising.  However, reality checks are necessary in order to make sure that we're on course for where we want to go and not drifting off on a tangent.  Which brings me to the lady aged 50 plus (read "plus, plus") walking along on Saturday afternoon wearing pumps, black leggings and a rara skirt. If she'd worn the pumps she'd have looked good.  If she'd worn the pumps and the leggings she would have been pushing the boundaries but may have got away with it. But to add the rara skirt was just too far off course.  This lady had a youthful  figure and looked like great fun but wearing an outfit that only a teenager should wear made her look far older.  On the other hand I've also worked with younger clients who have dressed in a more matronly manner - their outfits have sapped the fun and energy out of them, leaving them feeling older and burdened.

The moral of these stories?  Follow your instinct, have fun - but every now and take a quick reality check and make sure that your clothes are conveying energy and drive rather than yearning for a previous, or future, life stage.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Clothe yourself with value

I believe that the beauty and confidence of a person is founded on their acceptance of her/him self.  Developing your style and wardrobe will be a continuing process that can occur after you have explored and accepted who and what are of value to you in life.  If you recognise that changes have to occur before you can happily accept who you are then make those changes.  Only then will it be possible to develop your appearance to happily reflect yourself.  Otherwise you'll continually look to change your appearance or not bother with your appearance at all...

Monday, 28 June 2010

Leaving connections to chance?

We breathe continually without making a conscious decision to breathe - it just happens.  Does style just happen?  Sometimes, and many people live in hope that today will be one of the days where style just happens to them and lets them connect to the people they want to be closer to - whether that's their partner, the colleagues they work with or the students they teach.  

But the smart folk don't leave it to chance, they find out why certain outfits will work for them, why the choice of colours, lapels or cuts of clothes will help them to connect with specific people.  Then they use that knowledge to make the connection.

Don't leave your non-verbal communication to chance.  Know that the clothes you wear do make a massive difference to how folk relate to you. Use your appearance to make the connection.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Revamp Your Summer Wardrobe Workshop

The Renideo workshop at Totty Rocks in Edinburgh last Thursday was a wonderful opportunity for like-minded women to meet and consider how to put a capsule wardrobe together for the summer months.  Not only did we learn new tips for our wardrobes but we enjoyed meeting new friends and sharing tips on where to find outfits for summer weddings.  
Eyebrow threading expert Ling Wi was on hand to prove how easy it is to create structure within our faces, even when we're wearing minimal summer make up.  Everyone left with beautifully shaped eyebrows without one hint of pain!  
Samples from luxury skincare brand, Nude, were given to all who came along and Serenity in the City provided vouchers for everyone to visit their little spot of zen in the centre of Edinburgh to have a file and polish.
It was fabulous to get thank you notes, comments included,

"Thanks for a great evening on Thursday. I had been working a 12 hour shift, and really struggled to get away in time, however your evening was really enjoyable and a great way to destress and unwind, and hopefully pick up some hints and tips at the same time.
Look forward to the next one"

"I can see us all looking forward to the 'autumn wardrobe' session!!"

"Thanks again for a lovely evening, we really enjoyed it and learned alot of good tips.... Its always good to get a head start. Thanks again and have a good summer."

"I really enjoyed the evening - so thank you for inviting me. Perhaps we could have another one in the run up to winter and do our winter capsule wardrobe?"


Monday, 14 June 2010

Take charge of your wardrobe.

The foundation of fashion isn't built on slim, tall, beautiful, young people but on those of us who feel that we should be slim or tall or beautiful or young. Fashion feeds on constantly creating a lack. A lack of new styles of clothes, accessories, skincare and make up as well as a lack of self esteem. It's fun to be creative with our appearance to add something new and see how it changes how we look and are perceived but it can also be time consuming, costly and frustrating. A style coach will not necessarily come from a background of fashion or retail, in fact it's best if the coach hasn't been affected by the fashion bullies who insist on telling us how short or long hemlines should be and whether shoulder pads are in or out. However, we ignore trends at our peril, instantly communicating that we're not aware of the contemporary world in which we operate.
Therefore, a style coach will work alongside clients, learning what the client's individual lifestyle requires from their wardrobe as well as helping the client build a clear picture of what he or she would enjoy wearing. Tools used within life coaching are modified to help the clients do this easily and take ownership of their style development rather than "be styled". Stylists will often leave a client feeling inadequate, a style coach will only have done their job well if their clients leave feeling empowered and confident about the clothes that they choose to buy and wear.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


This will sound quite a strange question and definitely like a marketing ploy but I'm intrigued to find out why so many of my clients are genuinely lovely people?  Yes, they pay me money so I  recognise that I could be biased but I genuinely find my clients are people who enjoy so many parts of life that clothes can often be a hindrance.  Something that gets in the way of doing all the other great things that are there to enjoy.  I'm writing a profile for a client this morning who is accomplished in many areas of life.  I really enjoyed working with him as we considered how his wardrobe could reflect his interests and drive in way that he felt comfortable.  He didn't want to brag, yet often felt frustrated with his clothes.  So he paid me to come and sort out his wardrobe allowing him to get on with all those other wonderful parts of his life.  My clients aren't looking to be fashionable, although many want to include contemporary elements within their wardrobe, but they are looking to make EVERY part of life enjoyable - including opening the wardrobe doors every morning!  
I'm incredibly lucky to meet so many people who teach and inspire me as I work with them.  
Wishing you inspiration and motivation in your work today.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Accept your body shape

I was very fortunate last night to be treated to an evening watching Wayne McGregor's Random Dance. If you have the chance to see it then don't hesitate, a fantastic experience. However, the uniformity of the minimal outfits that each dancer wore was an illustration of how each of us enjoys a completely unique figure.  Each of these dancers must spend a large amount of time practising dance moves as well as exercising to build strength and stamina so we quite rightfully expect to see similar slender, well-toned figures.  What was more surprising to see last night was that while many dancers are quite flat chested others have curvaceous busts.  Boyish hips and flat bottoms were apparent but so were feminine curves and rounded buttocks. 
Yesterday I spent time with a client as we considered her body shape before carrying out a wardrobe edit.  She had enjoyed a boyish figure in her teens and now in her 20's was disparaging about her rounded feminine figure, feeling that she had "gained inevitable weight" as she had grown older.  Together we explored how her figure had changed and all the benefits and new opportunities her curves now presented for new outfits. Slowly she recognised that she hadn't gained weight but had developed her figure and she looked at her wardrobe as an opportunity to celebrate these changes.  There are some aspects of our figures, that no matter how rigorous our exercise regime, are an integral part of who we are.  We can only gain confidence and liberation by accepting each element of our figures and dressing to celebrate our bodies not punish them.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sensual Living

There's no doubt that when we feel that we look good, we DO look good.  Our feelings have a lot to do with how good we look as we often radiate confidence when we feel comfortable . Consider the sensual aspects of your life that have nothing to do with your appearance but everything to do with your sense of peace and happiness.  This can vary from the smell of the fabric conditioner that you use to the feel of cashmere next to your skin and will be completely unique to you.  Just because a candle cost an arm and a leg doesn't mean that you'll love your space when the candle is burning.  However, it may be that it's worth having one luxury candle (that's the kind we sell) that you burn for an hour and extinguish while the smell remains instead of ten innocuous cinnamon and vanilla candles.  Today I'd urge you not to think of just the visual pleasure of your appearance but the sensual pleasures of smell, touch, sound and taste.  Personal favourites include the sound of bangles colliding, the touch of my cashmere wrap,the taste of MAC lipstick and the smell of Ecover lavender and aloe liquid soap.  Take the time to enjoy these aspects of your outfit and strike a serene pose - no one will guess it's down to your choice of Lenor!

Sublime Modern Alchemy candles are available at Shop Renideo.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Looking for a little Spring action?

Spring is officially here - crocuses create flashes of bright colours as they burst out of the earth, the clocks will soon spring forward and days are already longer and brighter.  Nature is giving us a wake up call.  But while some of us might have the energy of frolicking lambs, others screw up our eyes in the brighter light, loathe to leave our winter hibernation and feel tempted to crawl back.  As a personal style consultant I help people identify the colours that will bring attention to the face not the colour.  There is often a mix of soft and bright colours and while these colours will work all year round it can help to see what kind of colours nature is throwing at us to recognise which ones will work best today.

Technology and city living can confuse our senses - electric light prevents us from sleeping as much as we should in winter, concrete jungles stop us from noticing seasonal changes but it's vital that we don't miss out on the energy and fun that accompany Spring.  The colours in Spring are the freshest and brightest of any time of year - look at the buds on trees, the shoots of green out of the earth.  I'd encourage you to wear some bright colour today and start to feel the energy of Spring.  The amount of bright colours you wear will vary - too much can be over powering but too little will leave you looking, and feeling, less cheerful and dynamic.  So add your own shoot of green, flash of yellow or burst of coral and feel the vitality of Spring in your outfit today.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Style never fades - fashion keeps us young

I was honoured to be asked to present at the inaugural Good2Give charity event last month.  Lynne McNicoll will ensure that each of her charity events is a high quality event and  she set a benchmark with the first High Tea with Style.

The event was a great example of how women of all ages can enjoy each others' company and have fun.  The youngest guest was eleven, the oldest was a great-grandmother.  But we all wanted to learn about how to develop out individual style.

I took the example of a long top that I found at Mint Velvet in Frasers ( special thanks to Ian Elder, store manager, for the loan of all those fab clothes).  The top was in a sheath style that may have looked too shapeless had it not had a ruched feature on one side.  The top had a feature pattern down the right side which decreased the need for accessories and was sleeveless.  So how can a 15 year old, woman in her 40's and another in her 60's comfortably wear the same top without the MDL factor or indeed the Lamb Dressed as Mutton factor?

Elis, our youngest model, wore this top as a dress with thick tights and a long cardigan with button features up the sleeves.  We introduced slouched biker boots and a long necklace.  She has youth on her side and can layer on all these features without them taking the attention away from her.
I was the "model in the middle".  My arms are just toned enough to go sleeveless so I teamed the top up with some grey skinny jeans and heels.  A chain bracelet and stud earrings were enough accessories as the pattern was the focal point of my outfit.
Fiona was an inspiration, demonstrating that we should never condemn ourselves to shop in certain places once we're enjoying free public travel.  We teamed her top with grey bootcut trousers and a grey waterfall cardigan.  The pattern was there but not an overpowering feature so Fiona was able to go for longer feature earrings.
We all felt comfortable in our Mint Velvet tops.  Elis felt she would go out with friends, I was ready for an evening event and Fiona was ready to wow at special weekend lunch.

So as we look forward to Mothers Day let's not strive to look a different age but celebrate the age we are, enjoy the women in our lives of different ages and keep our options open when shopping!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Resolve to begin your New Year resolutions in March – instant success!

The beginning of a new year does seem to be the perfect opportunity to take stock of our lives and consider how we’re doing.  Are there areas that need to be developed or curtailed?  To be created or discontinued?  However, the dark and cold days of January do not tend to deliver the energy and resolve required to actually stick to new resolutions.  I’d recommend that we consider January and February as months of planning for actions that will commence in early Spring.  This is not an excuse to slob for the first few months of the new  year.  We can maintain routines that were in place in 2009, even if they slipped over the holiday period, but new rituals that require a greater amount of stamina and enthusiasm should be kept for March when the first signs of Spring and new life begin to show.

If we look at the natural world there is a limited amount of daylight at this time of year, indicating that, if not actually hibernating, we should definitely be aiming for more times of rest and sleep.  Our times of rest can be used to gain knowledge through reading and planning for the changes that will take place in early Spring.  The cold weather dictates that this is a time of year when practical dressing is more important than the aesthetics.  But this is the perfect time to stay indoors and look through our wardrobes, discarding items that have been draining our wardrobes of energy, considering what items we need to purchase for the next season.  If you haven’t already enjoyed one this is also an ideal time to invest in a full colour and style consultation.  At this time we tend not to be rushing off to barbeques, picnics, holidays and have the time to really consider the information gained at the consultation and pore over the personal style profile that is sent after the consultation.  For those of us who have already acquired this knowledge January and February are the perfect opportunity to plan for the changes we want to implement.

So don’t feel despondent but enjoy the gift of these darker, colder months to stay indoors and plan that killer wardrobe for Spring!